Biotech Updates

UN Conference Discusses Liability Rules and Redress

May 16, 2008

The fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP 4), opened last Monday in Bonn, Germany. The main aim is to expand the scope of the protocol to include binding rules on liability and redress.

Ursula Heinen, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Ministry of Consumer Protection, presided as the chairman of the conference. Heinen said that biotechnology is opening up new possibilities for better food. Like all new technologies, however, it also holds risks for biodiversity. She further stressed that the issue of liability is of central importance for public acceptance of agbiotech. 

Executive Secretary to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Ahmed Djoghlaf, believes that rules on liability and redress will be agreed upon when the conference ends on Friday. In 2004, parties to the Cartagena Protocol had set for themselves the objective of reaching an agreement by MOP 4.

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